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Saft commissions latest 25MWh grid-connected BESS for TotalEnergies in France

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Battery storage manufacturer and system integrator Saft has completed another project in France for parent company TotalEnergies.

TotalEnergies said this morning (9 May) that the 25MW/25MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) provided by Saft is up and running at Carling, near France’s northeastern border with Germany.

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The batteries will provide capacity to help manage peak demand periods and deliver ancillary services including primary control reserve (PCR) to French grid operator RTE.

It is the third of four BESS projects Saft is delivering for TotalEnergies in France. The energy major was awarded long-term contracts by RTE through a competitive tender process called AOLT in 2020.

Just before the end of last year the partners celebrated the completion of a 36MW/36MWh BESS installation at TotalEnergies Dunkirk site, adding to 25MW/25MWh already installed at the site a year previously. The combined 61MW at Dunkirk makes it France’s biggest battery installation to date.

The fourth and final installation in the portfolio, in Granpuits, northern-central France, is going to be the biggest at 43MW/43MWh. TotalEnergies said the Granpuit BESS will be commissioned by the end of 2022.

Each of the project sites leverages existing land and infrastructure already owned and put in place by TotalEnergies. This includes interconnection points to the electricity grid. The Dunkirk projects for instance are sited at one of the company’s refineries.

At the just-completed Carling site, TotalEnergies is also deploying two combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants to produce energy for storage. The Carling platform also produces polymers and hydrocarbon resins for the European market, while TotalEnergies is also exploring the production of green fuels from the platform.

Saft, which designs and assembles BESS based on its Intensium Max brand solution for megawatt-scale applications, delivered 11 separate lithium-ion containerised battery units for the project.

In a series of sponsored webinars with Energy-Storage.news, Saft executives and technical team leaders discussed the various strategies for designed, operating and optimising battery storage units, using the completed project at Dunkirk as a reference case study.

Kristin Schumann, deputy director for the energy storage solutions team at TotalEnergies, which acted as developer on the projects, also discussed the portfolio of projects in more detail in the most recent of those webinars.

The BESS units directly connected to the grid at each site need to be available 24/7 and send 25 separate data points every 10 seconds to the transmission system operator (TSO), Schumann highlighted.

French BESS market making progress after slow start

In an interview with Energy-Storage.news in March this year, Corentin Baschet, analyst at energy storage consultancy Clean Horizon noted that the business case for battery storage in France is growing stronger, although to date the country’s market has lagged behind its neighbours in the UK and Germany.

By the end of 2023, publicly announced projects tracked by Clean Horizon adding up to about 900MW will be online, Baschet said. TotalEnergies’ 129MW at the sites mentioned above puts the company second in terms of publicly announced BESS project capacity within that pipeline.

Furthermore, in 2021 battery storage asset owners and operators made significantly higher revenues than had been forecast by projections ahead of time. New tenders by RTE as well as pan-European ancillary services markets are among the different drivers pushing the market forwards.

Meanwhile, Saft has been contracted to supply the BESS for France’s first-ever high-voltage transmission grid-connected battery project colocated with a solar PV plant, Energy-Storage.news reported in February. Developer Neoen awarded the contract for an 8MW/8MWh BESS at its solar PV project in Antugnac, southern France.

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